Featured Image Source: by cnunezimages /shared by Elon Musk via Twitter
We could soon see the world’s largest rocket liftoff from South Texas! SpaceX targets to launch the first fully-stacked Starship to orbit in November. –“If all goes well, Starship will be ready for its first orbital launch attempt next month, pending regulatory approval,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on Friday. The aerospace company needs approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which monitors and controls air traffic. The FAA is currently conducting an environmental assessment of SpaceX’s Starbase facility to ensure safe spaceflight operations in the Boca Chica Village region. SpaceX will obtain a flight license when the FAA ensures safe operations can take place from the sandy beach.
If all goes well, Starship will be ready for its first orbital launch attempt next month, pending regulatory approval— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2021
The FAA released a draft environmental review document of the Starbase launch site, that details the operations the company plans and how they may affect the environment. The Administration welcomed Public comments to complete their final assessment. People from across the United States (and the world) have voiced their support for SpaceX operations in the southernmost tip of Texas, very few voiced their concerns. FAA is still accepting public comments via its official website and email for the rest of the month until November 1st, linked below. “Your support makes a big difference! Please let the FAA know your opinion,” Musk Tweeted on Saturday morning.
Your support makes a big difference! Please let the FAA know your opinion. https://t.co/4T3NaemoCr— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 23, 2021
The gigantic 230-foot-tall Super Heavy Booster 4 prototype will propel the 160-foot-tall Starship SN20 spacecraft to orbit from Boca Chica. It will be the first time SpaceX launches a Super Heavy rocket. Engineers will equip the booster will 29 methane-fueled Raptor engines, these engines are super powerful. The company has never ignited over three Raptors at once, so it will be incredible to see all the engines ignited to propel Starship SN20 to the edge of space. They plan to land Super Heavy Booster 4 in the Gulf of Mexico ocean, soon after propelling SN20 to orbit.
Starship SN20 will continue its voyage to orbit above Florida Straits around the planet then reenter Earth’s atmosphere to soft-land in the ocean off the northwest coast of Kauai, Hawaii. The ambitious flight profile will help SpaceX go through all launch operations as they planned it on paper. All concepts of operations will be practiced and the spacecraft will be improved based on all the data engineers gather during the spacefIight.
SpaceX engineers already started SN20’s preflight test campaign. They already performed the first set of static-fire tests of the vacuum-optimized Raptor (R-Vac) engines that are specifically designed for propulsion in space. It will be the first test in outer space of these special engines. In the coming weeks, more preflight testing will continue. If the ship and booster pass all tests, it will be ready for liftoff in November.
SpaceX released a video montage of the Starbase factory on Saturday night, shown below. Musk calls Boca Chica Beach, TX, the “Gateway to Mars.” The company’s ultimate goal is to create the first interplanetary spaceport in the region to support humanity’s greatest challenge – to expand the scope and scale of consciousness across the Solar System.
Gateway to Mars pic.twitter.com/cej13QdyJP— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 23, 2021
Starbase under construction pic.twitter.com/cFXJKvYJjY— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 22, 2021
Featured Image Source: cnunezimages via Twitter
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.